Becker Dogs Days help students unwind
Published on: March 13, 2019
For students, faculty, and staff on the Leicester Campus, one way to unwind from a stressful day is to enjoy some snacks while petting some of the friendliest and cutest canines around. Becker Dog Days is held in the game room on the second floor of the Fuller Campus Center. Over the course of an hour, students come and go, catching up with old friends and making new ones, including friends of the 4-legged variety.
Julie Bailey, dean of the School of Animal Studies & Natural Sciences, started the offering back in 2017.
“Biscuit was my inspiration,” Bailey said about her dog. “He’s gone to a lot of nursing homes and I decided to bring him in to meet the students.”
The students seemed to enjoy the interaction. So much so that one, Luc-Henry Portes, asked if he could expand the program. So now there are three dogs—Biscuit, Dundee, and Rogue— as well as a make-your-own trail mix bar.
“Last year I came here a lot,” said Portes, who is now the student ambassador for the Dog Days program. “I found that it was a pretty peaceful environment and a way to make the day a little brighter.”
As a pre-vet major, Portes said he particularly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with happy, health pets, as well as his fellow students.
“It gives the students a chance to interact with their peers,” Bailey said. “I also wanted them to be able to interact with the faculty and myself in a relaxed setting.”
The gatherings are held around lunchtime and are hosted by Shannon Babyak, the director of clinical instruction, and Kim Barry, a clinical instructor. Some students stop in for just a few minutes between classes, others stay and enjoy the camaraderie in a relaxing setting.
“It’s kind of a stress reliever in the middle of the day,” said animal science major James Hazelton. “We spend our days learning about dogs. Here you get to play with them. I love it!”
“It’s awesome,” agreed vet tech major Rika Prajapati. “I love having the dogs here with their different personalities. We all bond over the dogs!”
Bailey noted that while Dog Days gives students have the opportunity to interact with their professors, as well as with each other, that’s not the real reason for the gathering.
“My only goal is that the students have a positive experience,” Bailey said. “It’s good for the soul.”
Upcoming Dog Days are scheduled to be held, from 12:15- 1:15 p.m., on Thursday, March 21, and Wednesday, April 10.